Up and coming children’s author and life long friend Laura Quinn is just about to release her charming new children’s book collection ” The monkey blue series “. Her first book in the series “Monkey blue” is a tale of friendship, that teaches us friends come in all shapes and sizes. (such a positive message to be sending out to our children.) Ahead of the release on the 1st of August, I nabbed Laura for a long over due catch up, to chat about how the series was Created, what inspired her to bring it to life and what she does when she’s not writing.
When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I don’t know if there was ever a realisation moment. I’ve always written, anytime there was a wedding I would be the first person to be asked to write the reflection or speeches. If there was a funeral I would be asked to write poems for the funeral or for the memorial card. This eventually took its toll as it can be very emotional. My Dad suggested I keep writing but to try funny poems, which I did, they were received really well. It was only a matter of time until children’s books found me.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I didn’t set out to have a style or a quirk but it comes with the territory, my sister would be somewhere and message me, “Did you write that?” “I just knew?” they would recognise my style immediately. But people who haven’t read anything, or are new to my writing will always comment on my endings. In my sentimental poems, there’s always a little soft twist to make people go…Awww!!! Or in my funny poems a funny quip or joke at the end for people to laugh. I have followed that through in my children’s books. They all end on a little cheeky note so I guess that is my quirk.
What was the inspiration for Monkey blue?
Monkey Blue, began as Curious Cian, I would write down my son’s antics. He was given a monkey teddy at birth and it was starting to wear, he chewed the label of it and dry biscuit gathered around its ears, the monkey has blue feet, so from that came Monkey Blue. I had gathered Stories for Curious Cian and then changed it to Monkey Blue, then the book was formed.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I would love to answer that with” I relax with a glass of wine or I hang out with family,” which I do occasionally. But this question gives me a great opportunity to stress that Monkey Blue only came to life because of a writing scholarship I received through the making magic happen Academy. I was one of only 6 selected for the programme and I am learning the art of self-publication through them! I personally Manage my own Ingram spark account (this is where I manage the book, keep track of sales, distribution, market and promote) I liaise with my illustrator and web designer daily, plague companies to review my book and although I am on a great platform I still aim high.
I am now an officially registered member of Nielsons, (the world book library), Gardner’s will be distributing my book which was a huge goal or should I say gave me the confidence to approach some of the bigger stores, Waterstones and Eason’s which is my ultimate end goal. So I’ll put it like this, ….. in my spare time, what I like to do is breathe! That’s about all I have time for at the moment.
What do your family and friends think of your writing?
They are delighted to see things take off for me, they have always encouraged it and they personally know the commitment it takes to get to this level. I was never going to thrive in any other business. So to find my feet here makes me a much happier person and they love that. It takes a lot of stamina to keep at it and I would mope for a while every time I was rejected, but they are chuffed that I finally get to have my “pretty women moment”.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
How quick it can come to life, (if of course you commit and invest completely into it,) I’m surprised that a few weeks ago I was creating the first Monkey Blue book and I now, not only have my first book ready for release but my website is underway and I have the 2nd and third book at the illustration stages.
How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
Monkey Blue started the process so he has to my favourite. I was meant to end at four though that no longer seems likely. My second collection The Mummy where’s my is well underway, it also has four in total but in this kind of industry, you can never hinder or say when you’re going to stop a collection. I want to focus on nurturing the monkey blue collection, for now, there are so many avenues from there even with merchandising alone. For the second book Grandma’s pie, I’d just love to see the ingredients for the pie boxed with in a monkey blue novelty box, I have a lot of unfinished business with these projects and avenues to explore but I do hope to write more books in the future.
My second collection “mummy where’s my?” are geared more towards toddlers and weaning toddlers of their dummies, potty, bottle, blanket, in the hope that if they are read enough to the child they will say, mum I want to give my dummy away too, I think they will become very popular.
What do you think makes a good story for children?
I’m personally all about the moral Like I’d said before a punchline or a strong ending with principle always does it for me. I obviously have to promote rhyming books as that is my style but they are “genuinely” my favourite kind of stories, they flow better. A parent can read them a lot easier, the child understands them more. After putting a book down after reading it to my son I like to know that he learned something from it.
What is the Monkey Blue Book about and why should parents choose it over other books out there?
Monkey Blue covers the importance of healthy eating and Exciserse. But the most important element of the book is friendship morals, how kids should open themselves up to others regardless of their shape or size or appearance. I tried to show the different variation of characters from having Geoffrey the Giraffe a soft, silly, innocent but helpful character. To Millie the Caterpillar, Small, silent but strong. She influences Monkey Blue more than the others which you would find hard to believe on first appearances. The book demonstrates how each person’s input is just as important as the next and it shows examples of how groups of friends need each other. Unfortunately, it takes kids a while to find their confidence we all look back and say ” I wish I would have had the confidence
to do that when I was young,” I want to instil that in kids so they have the confidence to branch out and meet new friends and let others into their “gang or group of friends”.
Notes:, to order Monkey Blue or to meet with amazing new friends please click on the link.
Also, The first 50 people to visit and pre-order the book can enter MONKEYBLUE50 in the voucher code and receive a signed copy along with free postage.
You can find her illustrators Kevin Mc Hugh,s Facebook page here